SHARKS players have shown their personal support for the RECOGNISE campaign – which also has the Club’s backing – to mark the start of National Reconciliation Week today.
The Club declared its support to raise awareness for the RECOGNISE movement two weeks ago.
The Sharks will feature the ‘R’ logo on their shorts for the rest of the 2015 season.
Andrew Fifita, who will join the Blues squad in the State of Origin series opener tonight, wore the R at training this month as the club prepared to declare its support.
His wife Nikkita is due to give birth to the couple’s second child today – on the 48th anniversary of the 1967 referendum. That vote enabled Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to be counted as citizens in their own land.
Ben Barba and Fifita’s twin brother David are also proud supporters of the movement, and wore the R on his sleeve as a member of the NRL Indigenous All Stars squad in February.
Both the NRL Indigenous All Stars and the NRL All Stars were briefed on the RECOGNISE movement at their training camps. The NRL is also a strong supporter of the RECOGNISE campaign.
The movement seeks to achieve two goals.
One is to RECOGNISE Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the Australian Constitution. Currently, the nation’s founding document makes no mention of the first 40,000-plus years of Australia’s history and the people who forged it.
The other is to rid the Constitution of race discrimination – which is still permitted in the legal framework for the nation.
RECOGNISE joint campaign director Tanya Hosch applauded the club, management and players on their leadership and support for the movement.
“To win a referendum vote, every one of us in every sector of the community needs to play our part in championing this cause,” she said.
“It’s great to see people making informed choices after getting the facts and then deciding to put their leadership publicly behind the campaign.”
[Photo: David Fifita, Ben Barba and Andrew Fifita show their personal support for the RECOGNISE movement, as the Cronulla Sharks unveiled the Club’s decision to get behind the awareness-raising campaign]